A group of firefighters from Newton are expressing concern after being exposed to the potentially deadly substance asbestos while renovation works were being carried out at the station. Debris from the ceiling in the station fell on or close to four firefighter recently when contractors were carrying out work in the station.

An investigation was launched because it became apparent that the city was aware of the present of asbestos in the building. However, according to officials are testing was carried out at the station following the incident, and the results of the testing came back as negative.

One spokesperson stated: “Our foremost concern is for the safety and health of building occupants. Clearly, before any work is done in the walls or ceilings, better precautions need to be taken.” A fire union official said: “I asked the station to be closed and they said no. A lot of people didn’t know what environment they are working in.”

He added that in 2006 the union had sent a letter asking for improved precautions against this sort of incident during renovations, but nothing was done. He added: “I am very concerned with the health and safety of the firemen at these stations. This wouldn’t have happened had the city responded to the letter in ’06. I guess it takes an accident to get action.”

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